For employees who filed a discrimination charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you likely got a notification about the EEOC Mediation Program. However, Denver, Colorado, residents may not know much about the program.
The EEOC mediation program is a voluntary and confidential way of resolving employment discrimination complaints without going through a lengthy and costly investigation or litigation process. It allows the parties involved in a discrimination charge to meet with a neutral third-party mediator who helps them reach a mutually acceptable resolution.
The mediator is not allowed to take sides but facilitates communication and problem-solving between the parties. The mediation program is free of charge and does not affect the rights of either party to pursue other legal remedies, if the mediation fails.
The EEOC mediation program in action
The program is available for most types of charges, and it is offered after a charge is filed. However, either party may request mediation at any time during the charge process. The parties can accept or decline mediation without affecting their EEOC rights or obligations. If both parties agree, the EEOC will assign a mediator who will contact them to schedule a mediation session.
The session usually lasts from three to four hours and can be held at a convenient location for both parties or remotely. The parties may bring their attorneys or representatives to the session. During the session, the mediator will explain the ground rules and procedures and help the parties identify their interests and concerns, explore possible solutions and negotiate a settlement agreement. If the parties reach an agreement, they will sign a written document that is legally binding and enforceable in court. If the parties do not reach an agreement, they can continue with the normal charge process.
The benefits of the EEOC mediation program
The EEOC mediation program can resolve a charge faster and cheaper than an investigation or litigation, which can take months or years and involve significant expenses. Mediation can reduce hostility and improve communication between the Denver extended metro area parties, which can help maintain or restore a positive working relationship. Mediation can also give the parties more control and flexibility over the outcome of their dispute, which can increase their satisfaction and compliance with the agreement. Finally, mediation is confidential and private, which means that the discussions and documents are not disclosed to anyone outside of the mediation process, unless required by law.